London to close streets for Car Free Day

Several major streets in London will be closed to private vehicles on Sunday September 22 2019.

Making the announcement today on Clean Air Day, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that hundreds of free events and activities will take place across 20km of closed streets across Central London including Tower Bridge, London Bridge, and the City of London.

Eighteen London boroughs will also hold their own events to celebrate the day including working with residents to create local ‘Play Streets’.

The programme for Car Free Day, themed ‘Reimagine’, will encourage Londoners to imagine what the busiest parts of London could be like without cars and traffic.

Sadiq Khan said: ‘London is leading the way in innovative measures to improve air pollution and I want this year’s Car Free Day events to be the best of any world city.

‘This will be a great opportunity for us all to leave our cars behind and explore our streets by foot, or by bike.’

‘There will be tons of performances and activities for people of all ages to try and enjoy. I encourage as many Londoners as possible to join in the fun and see the city from a different perspective.’

The City of London will see its street opened up to pedestrians on Car Free Day on 22 September. Credit: Harshil Shah (CC BY-SA 2.0)

It is hoped that over 150,000 Londoners will take part in London’s events for Car Free Day, which is celebrated across the world.

Participants in Central London will have the opportunity to walk around the Totally Thames Festival and visit some of London’s landmarks as part of the Open House weekend.

Other events planned include live music and street performances, sports, games, food markets and guided walking routes around the City of London and Southwark.

London boroughs such as Ealing, Brent, Greenwich, and Tower Hamlets will be organising their own Car Free Day events, while other boroughs are supporting residents to host Play Streets.

Play Streets allow Londoners to socialise and play in streets where they live, and it is hoped that there will be at least 200 Play Streets across London on the day.

The mayor’s large-scale Car Free Day has been welcomed by environmental experts who said it will help citizens understand the benefits of reducing car use.

Dr Audrey de Nazelle, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Centre for Environmental Policy at Imperial College London, said: ‘Being aware of the scale of air pollution health problems is not enough – actually living the joys of a car-free or car-less city will do much more to create a positive vision of what a future healthy London could be like.’

Over two million Londoners live in areas that exceed legal nitrogen dioxide (NO2) limits, while over 50% of London’s air pollution is caused by vehicles.

Since taking office Khan has introduced several measures to tackle London’s dangerous air pollution, including upgrading the city’s bus fleets and introducing the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone.